'We wanted to dress as the Beatles but there's only four of them - unless you count Yoko"
At the weekend (Saturday 22 June), Blossoms played a triumphant homecoming gig at Stockport County’s Edgeley Park, which featured frontman Tom Ogden getting his Thin White Duke on by debuting a funky cover of Bowie’s ‘Let’s Dance’. Two days before the gig, the band released a new single, ‘Your Girlfriend’, so NME caught up with Tom shortly before their stadium show to find out what we can expect from album number three.
What does it mean for you to be playing a homecoming at Edgeley Park?
“We always joked and said one day we should do a gig at Edgeley Park. Then the bigger we became, it became a reality. This is everything we’ve been building towards since the start of the band. We’re having an after-party at the ground in the same room where we had our school prom, so it feels like things have come full circle.”
Was there any talk of bassist Charlie Salt donning the furry Stockport County Vernon Bear mascot costume he wore in the ‘Where Are Blossoms?’ mockumentary?
“We were hoping someone comes to the gig dressed as the bear. Charlie certainly won’t be in the suit after last time – he came out with a rash on his face!”
You dropped a new single ‘Your Girlfriend’ last week. What was influencing it?
“I was listening to a lot of Talking Heads at the time of writing, and I’d never listened to them much before. Obviously I knew the singles but I delved a little deeper and it got my brain ticking in a different way. I saw something on TV about somebody being in love with his friend’s girlfriend and thought it was an interesting take on a song. So I started reading about it online, looking for people who’ve been seeking help for that kind of scenario. Things were jumping off the page – like these lads saying ‘We rent a place and she comes round to stay’. That went in the first verse. The whole song was bowling around that idea. I think it sounds really good.”
Is the track an indication of how the third album as a whole will sound?
“Well, we’ve recorded a load of demos – so many that we don’t know whether we’re going to do one big album or a couple of different things. We’re still trying to work out what we want to do. But there’s a couple of songs, off the back of ‘Your Girlfriend’, which are narrative based – painting little stories. Like there’s one about a young mother from someone who was a mum at school and has grown up – a bit like what Pulp touched on in ‘Disco 2000’, when you see them years later. Sonically, it carries on from ‘Your Girlfriend’ as well. Obviously ‘Cool Like You’ was very synth-driven and sparkly, whereas this is more groove and lyric based.”
Will you be working with James Skelly and Rich Turvey – who produced the first two albums, as well as co-produced ‘Your Girlfriend’ – on the third record?
“Yeah. We’re going to go in and do some more songs over the summer with him, because we get on great with James and we trust him. We joked about working with Mark Ronson, but he’s such a big name that he’s probably never even heard of who we are.”
The ‘Your Girlfriend’ video features the band dressed as various horror characters. Where did the idea come from?
“I messaged the director James Slater [who directed Blossoms’ ‘At Most A Kiss’ promo] on Twitter and sent him the song because I knew he has quirky ideas. Within ten minutes, he responded: ‘Love the song. My immediate idea is you’re all Hammer Horror characters and you live in a two-up-two-down in a mundane coastal town’. The next thing you know I’m in Morecambe dressed as a werewolf.”
How was it wearing the costume?
“It was gruelling to get into character because you’re sticking loads of hair onto your face and it takes ages. But it was probably the most fun we’ve had on a music video.”
Two months ago, you cosplayed the Spice Girls….
“Well, that was my girlfriend’s birthday: the theme was pop/rock stars throughout the years. We were going to do the Beatles but there’s only four of them – unless you count Yoko. Did the Spice Girls give us any reaction? No, I think they were too busy rehearsing for their world tour. We’re up for a laugh – and people found it funny.”
There’s a great picture of Anaïs Gallagher, dressed as her dad Noel, and Blossoms guitarist Josh Dewhurst, in full ‘90s Geri ‘Ginger Spice’ Horner regalia, together…
“We all became friends when we toured with Noel. She’s good friends with my girlfriend now off the back of it. She’s really into music. When our paths cross – whether we’re supporting her dad or playing in London – she always comes to watch us. She’s cool. She’s sound. He [Noel] got in touch with Anaïs about the costume and said she looked great but had the wrong colour shoes on – ‘I had white trainers, not black ones’. (Laughs)”
By the time people read this, you’ll have debuted your cover of David Bowie’s ‘Let’s Dance’ at the Stockport homecoming…
“We’ve covered a lot of the classic Manchester tunes. Last time we played the Castlefield Bowl, we did ‘Whatever’ by Oasis, with a real string section. We did ‘Bigmouth Strikes Again’ by The Smiths on our last headline tour. We were knocking ideas around and this one came up – we thought we’d probably do a really good cover of that. Then we thought there’s brass on the record, so why not make it extra special by getting them down for the gig. So Josh’s dad is a tutor in music at the University of Salford, and pulled it out the bag and found some guys to help us. A lot of people normally do ‘Rebel Rebel’, so doing ‘Let’s Dance’ is a bit different. Everyone’s there for a party atmosphere and that’s definitely a tune you’d have on at a party, innit?”
Did you drop the ‘Big Mouth Strikes Again’ cover because of the mounting Morrissey controversy at all?
“No. That’s just incidental. The fact we played it in the first place was just because we love the tune, so we try not to get caught up in the rest of things.”
How are you going to step things up after this? Having achieved your dream of a gig at Edgeley Park, what’s the next landmark moment you’re aiming for?
“You’ve got somewhere like Manchester Arena. Not to sound big-headed, but we know we could probably sell that out anyway. So the next step after that is Heaton Park – that’s probably the next aim.”
When can we expect the next new music from you?
“We’d like to get another single out this year and then get something out early next year – but that’s not set in stone. We’re going into the studio this summer to get a body of work down and then decide what we’ll do.”